Prolonged oral vancomycin for secondary prophylaxis of relapsing Clostridium difficile infection
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BACKGROUND: Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is an important cause of diarrhea and continues to be a major burden within healthcare institutions and in the community. For a small subset of patients with frequently relapsing CDI who do not have access to fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), or fail FMT, there are no clear treatment recommendations. We review our experience with prolonged oral vancomycin for secondary prophylaxis of relapsing CDI. METHODS: We performed a retrospective chart review of cases from the C. difficile consultation service at our institution since 2013. The service had three primary physicians providing consultations and performing over 1000 FMTs over the five-year period. Patients with relapsing CDI who were not candidates for FMT, refused, or relapsed after FMT were treated with vancomycin, followed by long-term oral vancomycin at a dose of 125 mg once daily. RESULTS: Twenty patients received at least 8 weeks of once-daily oral vancomycin for prophylaxis of relapsing CDI. Patients had a median age of 80 years, and experienced a median of four episodes of CDI prior to long-term vancomycin. Most were female and 75% had received FMT. Only a single case of C. difficile relapse occurred while on long-term vancomycin during 200 patient-months of follow-up. Amongst those who stopped long-term vancomycin, 31% relapsed within 6 weeks. No adverse events were observed. CONCLUSIONS: For elderly patients with frequently relapsing C. difficile, prolonged vancomycin once daily at a dose of 125 mg orally was effective in preventing further relapse. Vancomycin secondary prophylaxis may be considered in patients who have failed FMT, or in cases where FMT is not available.
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